Going into the contest between Salina South and Eisenhower, something had to give.
South relied on a strong defensive front. Eisenhower had an average of 273 pounds on the offensive line.
The Tigers were just a bit better.
Eisenhower leaned on a physical ground attack, the defense stopped South’s rushing game and the Tigers claimed the regional championship with a 20-6 victory at USD 256 District Stadium. Eisenhower stayed hot, winning its fifth straight game.
The Cougars had opportunities in the first quarter. After turning the ball over on downs on the game’s opening drive, South recovered a fumble in Tiger territory. Still, South was unable to put the ball into the end zone, giving the ball back to Eisenhower. The Tigers coughed up the rock again, leading to a goal-to-go situation for Salina South.
Instead of getting six, South settled for a 21-yard field goal by senior kicker Fernando Avila-Castro with 11:21 to play in the second quarter.
Eisenhower received its first offensive burst from junior quarterback Ty Trudo. He sprinted down the near sideline to put the Tigers near the red zone. A few plays later, senior tailback Justis Moore sniffs out the goal line for a one-yard plunge. A high snap took place on the extra point try, leaving the score 6-3 with 7:30 to go in the first half.
Neither team would see points in the second and third quarters, but the final frame was controlled by Eisenhower.
The Tigers turned to junior fullback Seth Golden to be the difference maker in the contest. He ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries in the final quarter. His first was with 8:21 left in the game, following by a one-yarder at the 3:07 mark.
Avila-Castro connected on a 26-yard attempt a minute later and allowed junior Luke Streit to recover an onside kick at the Tiger 35. Unfortunately, the Cougars couldn’t get a touchdown to close out the ballgame.
Eisenhower had 295 rushing yards on 49 carries. Trudo added 120 yards on 18 rushes for the Tigers, who turn to rival Goddard next Friday.
Senior quarterback Casey Lanoue led the charge for the Cougars. He was 10-of-30 passing for 227 yards. He provided another 43 on the ground. Sophomore wide out Ty Garrett pulled down eight catches for 162 yards.
South ends the season with a 3-6 record.